Saturday, June 17, 2017

Jazz up a hallway with a permanent student art gallery!

On The Artful Advocate blog, I shared about the student art gallery in my former school, pictured above.  I'll share a gallery tour in this post, as well, but I also want to point out a few pieces of interest.  For example, these two adorable elephants pictured below were painted more than 10 years apart!  (Sorry about the picture quality in this post; the hallway is narrow and there's a lot of unavoidable reflections on the glass in the frames.)

Let me tell you more about the gallery.  The school building in the tiny district where I taught was brand new in 1999, and for the first time, all K-12 students (between 500-600 kids total) were housed in one building.  A long stretch of bare hallway connects the high school and elementary wings, and I decided it was a perfect place to adorn permanently with student artwork.  With the support of my administration and school board, financial support from the PTSA organization,discounts and donations of mat board and frames from my favorite framer, and help with the installation by my fabulous custodians, the gallery became a reality and several pieces of artwork were added each year. To see the elementary gallery as it looks now, adorned with more than a dozen years of student artwork, watch the video tour below.

A year or two after my gallery began, the high school teacher also began adding artwork at the high school end of the hallway, and you can tour that section of the gallery in this video.

What's really fun is seeing some things that have happened.  For example, there's a few kids who have a piece on both the elementary and the high school end of the gallery, such as the 4th grade painted tissue paper collage below, and the high school acrylic painting underneath, both created by a talented young lady.  This artist, as with many others whose work hangs in the gallery, is now a college graduate! 

And there's these two paintings of trees, painted by talented twin sisters while in 4th grade.  I believe one of the girls has gone on to an art-related career, and a younger sister is also an artist.  We drew trunks that touched the top of the paper, and added branches that also extended to the edges of the paperl  The kids practiced color blending with tempera paint to create these paintings. 

While I was videotaping and photographing the gallery a few days ago, I noted many pieces of artwork are from projects I've never blogged about, so I'll be posting about them in coming posts.  For example, this fan design below was made by a 4th grader.  It was painted with values of India ink with the addition of some charcoal, and coated with Mod Podge.  Most students folded their fans and added cardboard sticks so they could actually be used, but this student chose to simply mount his fan, and was happy to have it selected to add to the gallery.

Perhaps my favorite piece in the gallery, and the story that goes with it, is this 1st grade portrait "of Mary by Karen" below, created before the gallery even existed. (Again, I apologize for image quality.  Along with the reflections on the glass, the artwork has also faded a bit.)  The students did these portraits sitting across from a friend they wanted to draw.  The artwork was done with construction paper and colored  pencils, and honestly, this looked JUST like Mary, bright blue eyes, freckles and all! The drawings had been sent home with the artists.  When Mary and Karen graduated from high school (still best friends), the same year I retired, Karen's mother brought me the artwork and suggested it hang in the gallery.  I framed it, and hung it at the very beginning of the gallery.  I swear, it STILL looks jut like Mary!
In the coming few days, I'll share stories (and lesson instructions) for a few other pieces hanging in the gallery.  Come back to take a look!


  1. All our corridors are outdoors, and even with glassed in bulletin boards they are ot suitable for permanent displays. If we had a hallway like yours I would do this in a minute! It such a wonderful gift to students to demonstrate the importance of Art!! Has the school continued to hang art since you left?

    1. Christie, I can't even fathom what a school with outdoor corridors must look like!
      The person who replaced me when I retired 5 years ago hung 5 new pieces in the first year or two. Unfortunatly, no new work has been added since. I believe the high school art teacher has added new work.

  2. Thank you for sharing. It is very inspiring and uplifting. Great Idea and way to promote the arts!